Attack on Iran coming soon?


Richard Moore

Date: Wed, 04 Jan 2006 10:39:43 -0800
Subject: Serious plans to attack Iran
From: Jan Slakov


German media: U.S. prepares Iran strike
UPI Editor

WASHINGTON, Dec. 30 (UPI) -- The Bush administration is
preparing its NATO allies for a possible military strike
against suspected nuclear sites in Iran in the New Year,
according to German media reports, reinforcing similar
earlier suggestions in the Turkish media.

The Berlin daily Der Tagesspiegel this week quoted "NATO
intelligence sources" who claimed that the NATO allies had
been informed that the United States is currently
investigating all possibilities of bringing the mullah-led
regime into line, including military options. This "all
options are open" line has been President George W Bush's
publicly stated policy throughout the past 18 months.

But the respected German weekly Der Spiegel notes "What is
new here is that Washington appears to be dispatching
high-level officials to prepare its allies for a possible
attack rather than merely implying the possibility as it has
repeatedly done during the past year."

The German news agency DDP cited "Western security sources"
to claim that CIA Director Porter Goss asked Turkey's
premier Recep Tayyip Erdogan to provide political and
logistic support for air strikes against Iranian nuclear and
military targets. Goss, who visited Ankara and met Erdogan
on Dec. 12, was also reported to have to have asked for
special cooperation from Turkish intelligence to help
prepare and monitor the operation.

The DDP report added that Goss had delivered to the Turkish
prime minister and his security aides a series of dossiers,
one on the latest status of Iran's nuclear development and
another containing intelligence on new links between Iran
and al-Qaida.

DDP cited German security sources who added that the Turks
had been assured of a warning in advance if and when the
military strikes took place, and had also been given "a
green light" to mount their own attacks on the bases in Iran
of the PKK, (Kurdish Workers party), which Turkey sees as a
separatist group responsible for terrorist attacks inside

Goss's visit to the Turkish capital followed the rising
international concern over recent statements by the new
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad that Israel should be
"wiped off the map," denying the existence of Holocaust, and
suggesting that Israel's Jewish population might be
re-located to Europe.

In a December 23 report, the DDP agency quoted an anonymous
but "high-ranking German military official" telling their
reporter: "I would be very surprised if the Americans, in
the mid-term, didn't take advantage of the opportunity
delivered by Tehran. The Americans have to attack Iran
before the country can develop nuclear weapons. After that
would be too late."

The DDP report also said that several friendly Arab
governments, including Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Oman and
Pakistan, had also been informed in general terms that the
Pentagon was preparing contingency plans, including "the
option of air strikes," in the event of the new Iranian
government precipitating a crisis.

Arab diplomatic sources have told United Press International
that they have been given no briefings on any policy change
beyond President Bush's "all option are open."

Bush's most recent such statement in public came on Aug. 13,
during an interview at his ranch in Crawford, Texas, when he
told Israeli TV: "As I say, all options are on the table.
The use of force is the last option for any president and,
you know, we've used force in the recent past to secure our

Other NATO sources have told United Press International that
"all this may be mood music, a way to step up the diplomatic
pressure on Tehran."

It is possible that leaks from NATO and German security
sources are part of a ploy to convince the Iranian
government that the Americans and their NATO allies are in
dead earnest when they say a nuclear-armed Iran would not be
tolerated, and that Iran had better start negotiating

But the German media speculation about the supposed U.S.
plans has been fueled by a number of high-profile visits to
Turkey this month, including trips by Secretary of State
Condoleezza Rice, by the CIA's Porter Goss and by the FBI
Director Robert Mueller, who also delivered U.S.
intelligence reports on Iranian backing for PKK operations
aimed against Turkey. There have also been some significant
Turkish visits to Washington, as reported by Der Spiegel.

"Two weeks ago, Yasar Buyukanit, the commander of the
Turkish army and probable future chief of staff of the
country's armed forces, flew to Washington. After the visit
he made a statement that relations between the Turkish army
and the American army were once again on an excellent
footing," Der Spiegel reported Friday.

"Buyukanit's warm and fuzzy words, contrasted greatly with
his past statements that if the United States and the Kurds
in northern Iraq proved incapable of containing the PKK in
the Kurd-dominated northern part of the country and
preventing it from attacking Turkey, Buyukanit would march
into northern Iraq himself," the German weekly added.

The CIA Director's Dec. 12 call on the Turkish prime
minister last for over an hour, far longer than customary
for a mere courtesy call, and followed an even longer
meeting with senior staff of MIT, Turkish intelligence. The
Turkish Daily Cumhuriyet reported on December 13: "Goss also
asked Ankara to be ready for a possible U.S. air operation
against Iran and Syria."

Der Spiegel noted Friday that the latest high-level visitor
to the Turkish premier was NATO Secretary-General Jaap De
Hoop Scheffer. This is not unusual, since Turkey is a member
of NATO, but the coincidence of these various trips prompted
Spiegel to comment "the number of American and NATO security
officials heading to Ankara has increased dramatically."

"In Berlin, the issue is largely being played down," Der
Spiegel reported Friday. "During his inaugural visit with
U.S. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld in Washington last
week, the possibility of a U.S. air strike against Iran 'had
not been an issue,' for new German Defense Minister Franz
Josef Jung, a Defense Ministry spokesman told Spiegel."

The original story in the German press which provoked the
wider media furore was written for the DDP agency by a
veteran reporter on security and intelligence matters, Udo
Ulfkotte, who has in the past been criticized in the German
media for being "too close to sources at Germany's foreign
intelligence agency, the BND" (Bundesnachrichtendienst).

At the same time, Ulfkotte has himself come under scrutiny
by German security services, and his home and offices have
been repeatedly searched in the course of inquiries into
allegations that he had published official secrets.

© Copyright 2005 United Press International, Inc. All Rights


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